New online graduate certificate integrates research and design

Did you know the layout of a hospital room can aid in the healing process for patients? Or that lighting and acoustics in schools can improve how children learn?

Colorado State University’s new online Graduate Certificate in Evidence-Based Design will teach designers, architects, facility managers, and other professionals to use research to create and evaluate these kinds of built environments—spaces and structures that influence human behavior, and cater to people’s needs, well-being, and safety.OnlinePlus

The certificate, which will begin to be offered in Fall 2016, is a three-course program that focuses on trends and issues, theory, and research methods relating to the design of the built environment.

CSU interior design faculty, Drs. Katharine Leigh and Laura Malinin, will teach the program. They are recipients of significant research awards, including the first Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Certificate of Research Excellence (CORE), and the Emerging Team Award for Interdisciplinary Scholarship from CSU’s Vice President for Research. Dr. Leigh has also been recognized by DesignIntelligence as a Leading Design Educator.

Leigh explained why it’s becoming increasingly important to use research to help shape and influence design decisions. “Organizations of all kinds—including hospitals, schools, high tech companies, and college campuses—are increasingly demanding spaces that foster specific outcomes. The results particularly impact an organization’s return on investment, but also user engagement and satisfaction.”

She said, in order to meet these growing demands, designers, and others involved in the development of “spatial solutions,” need to move beyond relying on their intuition and past experiences. Instead, they need to rely on research that will “provide an unbiased set of parameters in delivering increasingly unique built environments focused on clients’ individual goals and objectives.”

Leigh said the certificate will not only help designers learn important evidence-based design skills and methods, but also boost their credentials and credibility when working with clients.

Applications for the Evidence-Based Design program are now being accepted for the Fall 2016 semester. For more information, visit the CSU Online website, or call (970) 491-5288.